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Phasing out formula... Possible?

(20 Posts)
BearGrower Wed 03-Feb-16 08:46:14

I posted a thread a couple of weeks ago and got some helpful advice.

In short, my three week old son was diagnosed with a tongue tie at 1 week and had it snipped. However, he also lost 11% of his birth weight, was not having enough dirty nappies and was jaundiced even though I was bf around the clock. On the advice of SCBU we started formula top ups which swiftly progressed to formula feeds with bf top ups either side of feeds - he's an eating machine! Now he's stronger and gained all his birth weight back and more and is having lots of wet and dirty nappies I want to see if I can slowly phase out formula... Is this even possible? How might I go about it? Drop one feed every couple of days? He's having formula about 8-9 times a day (I said he was hungry....)

Any advice much appreciated, thanks.

tiktok Wed 03-Feb-16 10:17:24

Yes, it should be possible smile

Google relactation for some info.

The more you breastfeed direct, the better.

Need more info - how much formula in total is he having? How much does he weigh now?

Pyjamaramadrama Wed 03-Feb-16 10:17:31

I've never done this myself but I've read up on it and it can definitely be done. Especially if your baby is latching on.

The advice seems to be to put the baby to the breast as much as possible, supplements to build up your milk supply, lots of skin to skin with the baby, taking baby into the bath, expressing to build up your supply.

BearGrower Wed 03-Feb-16 12:26:40

Thanks both. He was weighed last Friday and was 8lbs 4oz (birth weight 8lbs)

I'd say that he's having approx 750mls of formula a day with about 40 mins of breastfeeding with each feed. Sometimes he'll spit my breast milk out though if he feeds after formula.

I'm taking fenugreek supplements and I have a Medela swing pump although don't use it often as not very good at expressing but am definitely willing to do whatever possible.

With skin to skin- is that during feeding or before?

tiktok Wed 03-Feb-16 14:01:39

Bear, that is a lot of formula - you need to know this, so you can work out a plan smile

Babies of your ds's weight who are only on formula would be having between 550 mls and 750 mls a day, so he's at the top end (150-200 mls per kg).

So this is going to be something that's quite a big deal - deffo relactation, but because it's just been two weeks since you stopped, you have a great opportunity to retrieve and build up a supply.

Pyjamaramadrama Wed 03-Feb-16 14:14:14

Read up on relactation.

Do you have older dc? If not can you just take to bed for a couple of days with the baby? The more you put the baby to the breast the better. He's obviously still latching on?

BearGrower Wed 03-Feb-16 14:52:43

No older children so can definitely take to bed - I always offer breast and he's very happy to latch on but often either falls asleep or gets frustrated that the milk flow is too slow! Alternatively when I can feel lots of milk come out he spits it out! No pleasing him. I will give this a really good go though, and will read up on relactation. Thanks all.

lcoc2015 Wed 03-Feb-16 16:43:59

My baby has had formula top ups since birth. Only about 180 - 240 a day but she started refusing bottles 10 days ago (she is now 10 weeks) and i was left with no other option than to ebf.

Quite stressful as she did lose weight the first 7 days. However i feel my supply has come back up to meet the missing formula in that time so i dont see why you couldnt start by dropping x amount of formula over a 7 day period and see if your supply rises to meet the shortfall, then once that stabilises to drop another x amount of formula?

I dont have abundant supply to begin with and have taken fenugreek capsules (3x3 times a day) all along and drink fennel tea. I also used motillium at the start which worked like magic although is hard here to get your hands on and my gp wouldnt give me a scrip for it so i tried not too this episode as i didnt want my supply to become dependant on it.

Finally, baby to breast every hour or so during the day whether they show any signs of hunger or not has worked for me aswell...

Best of luck!

NickyEds Wed 03-Feb-16 17:21:14

When I was trying to reduce f top ups I would bf first then give perhaps 60mls f then go back onto the other boob for as long as I could. As pp have said your baby is having a lot of f so it might be best to give one of the helplines a call, nct or LLL to make a plan.

mrswishywashy Wed 03-Feb-16 21:20:29

I did it after my babies tongue tie was sorted at six weeks. She's now 14 weeks and solely breast fed and has been for six weeks I think.

Good idea to get support from a lactation consultant as each individual relationship will need different advice but it can be done. Was a bit of work and you really have to believe that was my biggest hurdle.

BearGrower Thu 04-Feb-16 09:06:05

Thanks everyone for the really helpful advice- I've made an appointment for Friday with the lactation consultant at my hospital to make a plan so fingers crossed!

tiktok Thu 04-Feb-16 09:27:01

Great! Hope it goes well.

Pyjamaramadrama Thu 04-Feb-16 09:31:57

Good luck!

BearGrower Tue 09-Feb-16 09:59:34

Update and some questions for anyone that might have been through this or know more than me...

I met with my local lactation consultant on Friday which was extremely helpful and we came up with the following plan of action:

- offer breast at least every 2 hours if not more
- latch correction - his mouth is really hard to get a wide latch on and this is definitely affecting things
- compressions to keep milk flowing
- started Domperidone and fenugreek
- expressing after every feed
- slowly dropping formula down by 1oz every couple of days subject to wet and dirty nappies

Now all of this is going well, however:

- when I express I struggle to get anything out BUT when I have breast shells on to help air my nipples I can collect almost a full shell of milk from the breast I'm not feeding on whilst feeding him. Why could this be? Is expressing even if you just get drops worth doing?
- I really really struggle to get him to open his mouth wide enough - any tips?
- during the evening he seems to get SO frustrated at the breast - hitting and pulling at it and coming off every suck. I have been taking this as proof I have low supply but could it also be typical 4 week old behaviour?
- in the day he will suck and swallow for 10 minutes really well and then fall asleep waking up 10 minutes later for more - is this ok or is this evidence we aren't feeding effectively?

Terrifiedandregretful Wed 10-Feb-16 17:36:52

I managed to phase out formula by using a hospital grade breast pump to build my supply. I pumped about 5 times a day including during the night. It built my supply up pretty quickly and I was able to cut down then completely stop giving formula. I hired a medela symphony double pump and adapted a bra so I could pump hands free. I looked ridiculous but it was much quicker and less painful than direct feeding for me. (Dd had tongue tie).

BearGrower Wed 10-Feb-16 18:05:54

Thanks Terrified - I've just rented the Medela Symphony- can i ask how you adapted the bra please? Just cut holes in it?

MaidrinRua Wed 10-Feb-16 19:21:14

You'll probably have little problems relactating. I quit exclusive pumping at 7 weeks and switched to formula. I began relactating 7 or 8 weeks later and now, at 24 weeks, he's getting more EBM that FF... would get more EBM if I had enough time to pump more frequently!

MaidrinRua Wed 10-Feb-16 19:25:48

Just cut holes in a stretchy seamfree bra (couple of quid in primark or tesco)

MaidrinRua Wed 10-Feb-16 19:26:13

daluze Wed 10-Feb-16 19:36:47

Hi Bear, it is worth pumping with hospital grade pump even if you ht only drops. It is to additionally stimulate milk production. When I was pumping to increase supply, I did 15 min after each feed, it took several days to start get anything, and later sometimes I was getting letdown, sometimes not. It is anbit demoralising, when you pump and hardly anything comes out, but it is still worth doing.
As for falling asleep on breast, I tried to keep my boy awake feeding for 30-45 min before top up or pumping. Little babies tend to fall asleep when the milk flow slows down - it doesn't necessarily means they are full. Used strip to a nappy (if feeding not skin to skin to stary with), change nappy, stroke feet or back. Just to make sure he got as good feed as he can before offering a top up.
Good luck! It is a hard work, but was really worth for me.

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